Reality From Ringside #41
November 30, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of WrestleView.comSeven Weeks
In professional wrestling, statistics and historical significance seem to have become the norm when it comes to providing backgrounds to events or relevance to title changes. From Undertaker's Wrestlemania undefeated streak to statistical ?advantages? in the Royal Rumble, WWE loves to reference these truly obscure and often-times meaningful numbers.
Of all the statistics, numbers, and historical references that I have researched for my weekly columns, this week's ?Reality? will definitely make you sit back, think, and potentially threaten your capacity for evaluation and comprehension.
As reported on Wrestleview, when WWE's pay-per-view ?Tables, Ladders, and Chairs? reaches its conclusion it will be followed by the ?Royal Rumble?. Big deal, right? Not when you look at the amount of time in between the two.
Seven weeks. 49 days.
This is definitely uncharacteristic of Vince. To have this much time in between pay-per-views is unheard of. What's odd about this statistic is that it is not the longest amount of time that we have gone in-between WWF/E pay-per-views.
For posterity, it should be said that the last time we have had a break in between PPVs lasting longer than six weeks can be traced all the way back to 1997-98; ten weeks separating Survivor Series ?97 and Royal Rumble ?98. I don?t think I need to bore you with historical indications regarding these? if I do, then you need to look it up at your own leisure all while Bret Hart canes you across your back with a hockey stick.
All kidding aside, I should not even mention this time-gap because of the federation's event calendar at the time. This was back when WWF/E only ran six pay-per-views through the year: Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, King of the Ring, Summerslam, One Night Only, Survivor Series. While it is tremendously obscure and the main event involved then-European Champion Shawn Michaels facing Davey Boy Smith, ?One Night Only? was still an event aired on pay-per-view.
So when was the last time WWF/E had a period of time this long between pay-per-view events AND would be relevant to the status of the organization right now?
You don?t have to look back far, surprisingly.
From ?No Way Out? 2007 to Wrestlemania 23, WWE had six weeks to build their grand stage. Oddly it seemed easy enough to build the main events, as they were already set after the Royal Rumble.
Rumble winner Undertaker had chosen Batista's World Heavyweight Title as his prime objective for Wrestlemania, John Cena was slated to defend his WWE Title against Shawn Michaels. Have all four involved in a drama-building tag team main event in order to entice the buyer/viewer to purchase their cornerstone program in the weeks to follow.
Fun but sad fact: Look back at the card for No Way Out ?07. Of the 30 performers that were showcased on the then Smackdown-exclusive pay-per-view, half of them are no longer active with WWE. Don?t believe me? I figured you wouldn?t?
Enjoying their future endeavors wherever they may be (physically or otherwise): Chris Benoit, Jeff Hardy, Joey Mercury, Shannon Moore, Scotty 2 Hotty, Daivari, Jamie Noble, The Boogeyman, Booker T, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Deuce, Domino, Mr. Kennedy, and Bobby Lashley. Noble is in there because he is no longer performing in the ring? so don?t flood my inbox with ?Gotcha? replies.
Back to the researching and reminiscing at hand.
Just as all of us have been intrigued with how WWE would end up turning out programs on stipulation-based predeterminations, I am doubly intrigued by WWE's calendar and how they plan on taking advantage of it.
The amount of time they had to work with two years ago was, in my opinion, way too much for what they were doing at the time. Their biggest mistake was having no drama or suspense to insert into a seemingly mediocre Wrestlemania card. But of course, who knew that Undertaker/Batista would end up being as good as it was.
Wrestlemania matches were made on television over eight weeks prior to the show itself with a meaningless pay-per-view in No Way Out thrown in for no measure at all.
This time around, the extensive gap is in place behind the Royal Rumble. WWE has been in ?team-building? mode; hand-picking and fine-tuning their mid-card talent preparing them for the inevitable future WWE has before them.Regardless of what occurs at ?TLC?, what does WWE Creative have in store for seven whole weeks?
I used to be very pessimistic about my predicting ability, but I have now learned I?m pretty good at them when it comes to program building and not predicting PPV winners. It's sort of like how I?m better at predicting who will be in the conference championships during the NFL season than I am at predicting game winners on a week by week basis.
First, we need to establish what the card for ?Royal Rumble ?10? will be. As history has shown, a five/six match card has been the norm. Titles to be defended: WWE, World, ECW/US/IC, and Women's/Diva's. The titles I placed between slashes indicate it could be any one of those.
Why do I mention this? With seven weeks to work with, I believe that WWE Creative will be very heavy on generating competition for titles providing us with many ?tournaments? to determine number one contenders for many titles.
In this span of 49 days, WWE Creative will also be demanding the significance of the Royal Rumble match itself be branded into our souls. With the main event at Wrestlemania 26 hanging in the balance, how will they forge the iron?
The ?qualifying match? idea has never been stale. It provides plenty of fuel to the fire and can also act as a precursor for future feuds. However, I am about to propose something tremendously radical that could either fall flat on its face? or give WWE an unprecedented number of buyers for the first PPV of 2010.
At the ?go home week? (Raw, ECW, Superstars, and Smackdown TV programs immediately prior to the Royal Rumble), announce the entrance list of all 30 competitors. Have them select their numbers from the giant bingo drum like they have before, but announce their selections before the program itself.
Imagine how intrigued you would be to watch the Rumble match when you already knew who was coming out next. Or more to the point? what if superstars were given the opportunity to trade numbers the day of the program?!
The possibilities are endless with what WWE Creative can do with the seven weeks leading to their first big PPV. The only way we will know if it was successful or not lies in the buy-rate for Royal Rumble. Reliance on numbers and statistics? what a concept.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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